Who Wants To Be A Travel Writer?

Last-Minute Thoughts
  |  Gorp.com

To reasonably expect to succeed as a travel writer you must also enjoy the writing process (I often scribble notes while waiting at red lights) and develop your own distinctive voice with which to tell each story.

Examine your motivations. If your primary goal is to earn a living, odds are against you. If you're eager to write about your travels to inspire others to venture forth, that goal is within reach if you work hard. If you lust to write for the pure joy of transferring sensual input onto the page or the monitor, you're a winner all the way.

Be cautious about traveling in order to write. I travel to experience this planet and its people; to explore myself. Sure, I keep a journal, take photographs and collect enough unique facts to support a story if I choose to write one. But if writing takes precedence, it can create a membrane between the traveler and the world. The writer who lets that happen has forsaken true travel in favor of making a living. G. K. Chesterton made a similar point:"The traveller sees what he sees; the tripper sees what he has come to see."

My friend Amelia and everyone else who dreams of writing about travel as a career face significant obstacles. That's life. I prefer to be guided by the words of one of our civilization's greatest travelers of the mind, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe:

"Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius and magic in it."

Published: 30 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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